Date: Fri, 09 Jan 2015 10:15:24 -0600
To: franridge@nicap.org
From: francis ridge <franridge@nicap.org>
Subject: 20020114 Paintsville, KY: Robby Vaughn 5-31-06 response via The UFO Chronicles

The following is the original link to the page on The  UFO Chronicles, followed by the unedited text for search purposes.


By Robby Vaughn
5-31-06
    Any locomotive with structural damage in this area would go to HLS for repair. CSX only has three heavy repair facilities (I believe) at Cumberland, MD, Huntington, WV and Waycross, GA. Huntington is only 40 miles back north of where this took place. Here's my take and comments on the entire story as sent to me by a UFO investigator. From the picture I sent you, it would seem to me the unit was in the trail position since the metal roof looks to be bent and pushed "forward", however this does not jive with the statement that the trail unit was "crushed" and smoking. No.3 looks more like it was "clipped" but the metal is not pushed back.

1) The area reported is on trackage that belongs to CSX on their Big Sandy Subdivision near Richardson, KY. Double track extends for 6.1 miles starting at KX Cabin, CMG 37.4, passes RN Cabin at CMG 41.8 and ends at JB Cabin, CMG 43.5. You have the screenshot with labels added. There is a 90 degree curve around CMG 42.3 or so.

2) The tracks run next to the river near CMG 42 but there are no "cliffs' carved out for the tracks. There is a "hill" but there is also a road between the tracks and any elevated landscape. All is gentle, tree-covered private property with many houses in the area. Here's a picture of a southbound I shot running at speed passing the RN Cabin signal at MP 41.8.



3) Track speed limits are 30mph for trains over 14,000 tons and 35 for trains under 14,000 tons. The reported trailing tonnage of 16,000 tons makes this a loaded 95-car train of WV black gold. 9 out of 10 trains of this type use 2 GE AC4400 engines which have speed recorders that can be monitored by remote. Crews rarely speed on Big Sandy due to the curves, most of which have speed limits of 20-25mph. A 16,000 ton train just doesn't get up to speed that fast. As soon as an engineer could really get going, he has to be on the dynamics for a curve..

4) CSX requires crews to call all signal indications and report position every 10 minutes over the radio if stopped. A meet with a train in this area would have resulted in an "approach" signal at KX and RN or a "restricting" signal if they were required to stop at JB. Since they were running 30 mph at impact, I assume they would have had "Clear" signals at both location and had heard nothing on the radio to indicate a meet.

5) The Wild KIngdom area is generally considered to be the area near Ray and Whitehouse some 10 miles further south.

6) A light "around the way" could have been from a car since a state road runs next to the tracks at this location. Many locals in this area have big 4WDs with off-road lights they like to burn on the road whenever possible.

7) The crew would have been reacting quickly had they been running track speed and not expecting a meet. Without proper signal indication or radio contact, they had no idea what track an opposing train would be on. Although this is 6 miles of true double track, dispatchers will route trains on either track for various reasons. They would have dimmed the headlight but also been on the radio and off the throttle at the first notion they were meeting a train unannounced.

8) When the engines lost power due to the objects, the emergency brakes had applied as reported. Running at 30 mph (speed limit), a train in emergency rounding a curve is anything but silent. Wheel flanges are riding up on the outside rails and metal on metal sliding will wake the dead.

9) Impact was at 30mph? If making the speed limit before the sighting, a train in emergency, especially one rounding a curve with major frictional forces in play will slow quickly. Impact at 15 or 20mph would be more like it.

10) Stopped a mile and a half or two miles away? No. Maybe if they were running 50mph on level and straight tracks. Half mile to a mile would be more like it. Remember we had a tight curve (friction) and a slight uphill grade (gravity) along with full brake application.

11) CSX dispatcher (AO or BK dispatcher for this section of track) asked them if they could limp into Paintsville yard 20 miles away. I have a problem with this. They hit something that crushed two 100-ton locomotives and hammered two 150-ton coal hoppers. Coal would have been littered everywhere, perhaps blocking the tracks. There are public roads right next to the tracks accessable from US-23. The conductor would be required to walk the entire train and perform a brake test at the very least, a process that takes an hour or better. Remember, this was at night and a guy scared to death would need to hike almost a mile back to the rear while inspecting things with a flashlight. Ever walk on ballast? Not easy to do in the daytime, much less at night with an unknown lurking around. The train could not be moved per operating rules until a CSX trainmaster had arrived and given the all clear. If impact was at 2:47am, were up to at leat 4:00am now and probably 5:00am.

12) Lets say they did limp to Paintsville, 20 miles south. The train would need to run restricted speed or about 8-9 mph. Now we're arriving in Paintsville at 6:00am or latter at the very earliest. More like 7:00 knowing the way things operate.

13) Lets say CSX finally did get the crew and took them to Martin for drug testing. There is a hospital in Martin but I doubt they would do a drug screen quickly but maybe. The crew would have gone to Shelby and placed in the motel but it's doubtful they would be called for duty on their rest (8 hours later) with a drug test pending and probably a major investigation. You just don't crush a loaded coal train with nothing and not undergo an investigation. CSX runs by union rules remember.


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10 comments :

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As a Big Sandy engineer for the most of 26 years, it is doubtful to me that Mr. Vaughn has any real experience of the actual operation of locomotives. I had heard of this story and found this site to read up on it. First off the wild kingdom some consider to stretch from rb cabin to paintsville, secondly when a locomotive experiences a loss of power the emergency application of the brakes is not a instant thing, it will offer in some cases a penalty brake, before, any other application occurs. If you don't think a locomotive and coal car consist can be deadly silent, you may want to ask the many dead brakemen and conductors who would argue differently, especially if snow, rain, or ice is involed. Csx can monitor about 40 percent of the fleet with gps, however, gps is widely known to be "unavailible" on much of the big sandy sub. As for walking a mile back with a lantern, you can throw that out the window, if air is recovered to the train and after walking 6 cars back no further damage is encoutered outside of the two hammered lead cars, then you try and yank on them, if they move, and the train doesnt go into emergency, you travel restricted speed until your lead set of wheels passes the next more favorable signal indication. As for CSX Crews being required to call signals, I can assure you that we are also required to wear safety glasses while in the cab, have a one inch defineable heel on our boots and actually be sick when we lay off, none of which happens on a frequent basis. If I'M running on clear or medium clear and I see a headlight, and have not heard the other crew call signals, i don't go into a panic notch off or get a little air, i go on , simply because if he was fouling my track I'd be running on a restricting or restricted proceed. Csx conducts it's own drug screenings, unless a motor vehicle with casualties is involved, meaning, a nice young lady from around prestonsburg drives to martin collects urine and drives off. Now if a 5 car manifest train or a 7 car work train clears the signal and knows he will be waiting on one or two trains, it is not "unusual" for the boys, to clear up, kick their feet up and leave a headlamp on dim. Some engineers will extinguish all lights but the number lights, during a pass, which is, dare i say, against the rules, and some will kick it down to just a dim headlamp. IF a train is cleared up you will be running on speed.As far as stopping distance on 16,000 or 12,000 tons for that matter, this is not a car, or even a tractor trailer, I've been forced to use the emergency feature on many occasions, if that is in fact what kicked in and not the penalty brake and then emergency, which is still considered an emergency application of the brakes, a mile would be hard pressing it probably more like 2 especially if any inclimate weather or conditions were involved, yes even with a slight uphill grade and a curve. I would invite anyone who would like to stand in the tracks a half a mile away waiting on a stop to go ahead and jump in, you won't be around for the results. Now was this crew going on speed, probably not, probably over a little, as i said 40 percent now are gps but not nearly that high a few years back. And I know the rule book says to use the dynamic brakes but until around the last year or so the preferred braking procedure for many big sandy engineers, was the "against the rules" stretch braking system, slide'em in hot and pull em out the same. time is money. And if you don't think that every hill or cliff or mountainside was cleared specifically for the laying of the tracks, you really need to work on your history, in most cases nothing existed until these tracks were laid, a vast majority of the towns in this area were built because of mines and railroads.Do I think these guys hit a spaceship from another planet? No, but they hit something or something hit them because I remember the coal spillage in that area and I also know the boys were held out "critical incident" for three days after they got back to russell the next day. Not because of a pending drug test, which does not pull you out of service unless you are deemed to be totally at fault during an incident with proof such as a download or camera shots. Yes the Huntington locomotive repair facility would be an ideal place, but did you know that shelby has a repair facility too? defunct but operational and yes a turntable and a big covered building used to wash locomotives back in the day. Truth is the locomotives could have went anywhere including back to russell on the scheduled manifest that night with the two heavy bad order cars which could be dumped and turned into scrap within an hour. As for limping into paintsville, the general public is not privy to nor do they care what goes on in the old yard, it is has tree cover on both sides and building cover as well. Sure you could probably walk past all the maintenance of way trucks and equipment past the old depot and get a look see at the yard, without being arrested immediately, but why, if there is no explosion and no official on tv telling you it's ok to go back to your house, these people don't care, seeing cars and equipment even of the damaged variety to them is like seeing a you may have one a million dollars letter in the mail, it's common place, they've been raised around it. Furthermore if CSX wants to cover up an incident or just make it disappear, they just do it, if it doesnt make the news, it's probably going to get burried, it keeps the FRA off their backs, if you don't trust me, do a little investigating into the RCO operations at russell, more drailments and injuries have come from the box in the past couple of years, than the last ten over the road, but guess what? not a thing on paper. Being a rail fan is a great hobby, somebody giving you a timetable is dandy,if i see you out there i may toss you a water and a crew pack, but it definitely gives you little to no insight on the actual operation of trains on the line of road. Reply
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   Robby Vaughn Writes:
   I do agree with the engineer who responded to this, I have no experience behind the controls of any locomotive of any type nor have I ever claimed to have any experience running tonnage coal trains on Big Sandy. I have three engineering degrees but no "engineer" experience. I did previously work for Siemens Corporation as an electrical design engineer. Siemens makes many of the inverters and electrical components used in some of CSX's fleet.
   However, what portion of my response does this person dispute? Most of the speed limit, milepost, cabin locations etc are straight from published CSX timetables and rule books. I've spent years in the area on the ground observing the railroad's operation and I'm personal friends with many CSX employees including T&E crews. You've seen the photographs of the reported impact site, show me where the reported cliff is? I know several engineer's who have struck people, vehicles, damaged RR equipment, etc and are taken out of service (held out) upon arrival at the next terminal or taxied from the location. Please tell me he can honestly state that he could make a call to Jacksonville telling them he has just damaged two locomotives (one "smoking") and two coal cars that did obviously result in a sizable amount of spilled coal (per his observation) and they would be told to run on into Paintsville without walking the ! train or some on-site investigation by upper management. If they did this and a damaged car etc caused a later derailment resulting in serious property damage or injury, the crew and dispatcher would be lucky to get through the investigation with their jobs. One engineer I know who works for CSX tells me they are instructed not to exit the locomotive, or give their names or ID to emergency crews (police included) responding to train/vehicle impacts until a trainmaster, etc arrives on the scene. Most will not even depart a terminal if there is the slightest FRA violation concern with a locomotive such as a burned out headlight/ditchlight or expired paperwork. These guys live by the rule book. Tell your management you hit a UFO such that they feel you need drug tested and go back in service on your rest? Please contact a CSX trainmaster or road foreman and ask them if this would happen.
   Ask him about the cell phone, I know some of these guys, if this had happened they would have been calling everyone they knew even if it had been the wee hours of the morning chatting about what just took place. Taking his phone away several hours later would have been way too late. There is cell service in the Richardson area, I've made calls from RN cabin myself.
   I do agree with this person that "something" possibly took place. I have provided photo evidence of a roof damaged locomotive although I can not confirm if this is one of the units involved. There is also the possibility that they struck something suspended from the road bridge just south of RN cabin. However, I would assume that anyone with any time on Big Sandy would have known there was a bridge in that location and considered the possibility of a vehicle accident that had sent a car/truck over the edge. In which case I pray they would have asked for emergency support or used the cell phone to dial 911. I still don't believe this story is supported by enough facts. Please ask this person to comment on each point I have made and explain my errors. Possibly other than exact stopping distance of a train in emergency rounding a 90 degree curve on a slight grade running at something less than 30 mph, what are my mistakes? Al! so, if the engines were in total power failure, what powered the alarms that were sounding in the cab? I do have copies the GE operating guides and technical workbooks for AC4400's if there is some reference to a backup power supply for alarms only it should be identified in one of these.

   Robby Vaughn Reply
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   The fact that you have engineering degrees, has absolutely nothing to do with locomotive engineering, as I'm sure you will confirm you can have a degree in electrical engineering through college, but you can not become qualified in locomotive engineering unless you are in train and engine service and have attended classes by way of Cumberland, MD or Atlanta nowadays. As for your posted speed limits and tonnage restrictions, it's like I said Robby, time is money, and no, not everybody lives and dies by the rulebook at CSX, that's just completely off base. It's becoming more true now thanks to Tony Ingram, but not in 02. Your many train and engine service friends, whom I have not met yet and I'm looking, most likely either blow smoke up your tail pipe or you have happened upon the safest, most responsible, official fearing men in the history of the line. I think my points of contention were pretty well lined out in the last post, but here we go. Around milepost cmg 42 is this where they came to a stop, is this the the point of impact either way, it is clear that there is a hillside, two sets of tracks, and a river in this vicinity, if you want to call it a clyffside, I'm sure you'll get that Robby, you say tomato i say tomatoe. I know where the impact must of took place due to spillage, nowhere close to the bridge, and to question a train crew not knowing the difference between a car, truck, whatever dangling off an overhead, and a clearly "unusual" type of encounter, is just stupidity. Oh yes your cell phone has great range, we all bow to the ever present signal you must enjoy, but, railroaders use different services, such as sprint, cingular, att at that time, among others, to boldly say they should have a signal without the facts, is an attempt by you to discredit this crew, when it is you who should be discredited.I had sprint and lost my signal at burnaugh and got it back periodically at pburg,paintsville, and martin, it's why i switched. RB Cabin which is also rusty bridge cabin is a railroad bridge, JB cabin is an overhead, your "years" on the ground in observation are really starting to show. As for giving authorities proper paperwork and blah blah blah, these are all standard operating procedures if you have struck a vehicle at a highway crossing. Please get your trusty csx rule book out and turn to the pyramid of authority. Timetables are superseded, by bulletins, and bulletins are superseded by verbal instruction of the dispatcher. If the dispatcher tells you to do a quick inspection and roll on to a intermediate terminal, you don't question it, you just do it. This happened in the middle of nowhere, there was no calvary coming to aid this crew, police, trainmaster, or otherwise. Heres some homework for you Robby, check into the q634, or 5 that this exact scenario happened to a month or two ago on the great northern sub, somewhere near chilicothe ohio, a defect detector had nabbed the train for a second time,the dispatcher instructed this crew to clear up the main, don't pretend to know what really goes on out here, if you don't work out here you really don't. Get your ge manuals out and your schematics for locomotives because heres another lesson free of charge, if the units die in transit an alarm bell sounds, that's it no big mystery, when the guy says power was restored after stopping, it means he was able to get both units back online. power equals the locomotives in consist. Mr. Vaughn it gives me absolutely no joy to tell you I have been involved in a few road crossing incidents,DRUG TESTED EACH TIME, Never pulled from service, never found to be at fault and only served critical incident time on one occasion, after I made a return trip on my rest. Yes if you tell them you are shook up and can't continue your trip, they'll taxi you home, but if you say, i'm good to go, you lace em up and keep right on at it. Your over estimation of the importance of low level officials, trainmasters, roadforemen and the like lead me to think you have befriended officials and not engineers and conductors. Getting information from them is a dangerous proposition. In conclusion, it is clear to me now that the railfans, that I used to think were just harmless enthusiasts are in fact, hazardous to the day to day operations of a class 1 railroad, picture taking has progressed into the use of restricted radio frequencies, and so on. Taking this into account it will be my new ambition to report all encounters with unauthorized personell on or near the tracks or csx property as potential terrorist activity and clear the rail for honest men trying to work, per the rules. Reply
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   Good Day Spiritofwestvirginia !
   Thank you for your continuing input. Could you contact me privately?
   Thanks, Frank frank-warren@pacbell.net Reply
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   Sorry for taking so long to respond to this nice discussion but work took me across the big pond the last few weeks and internet access was only one direction by plugging coins into a hotel terminal. Iím sitting in an airport with a 4 hour layover and Iím jetlagged so letís keep the dialogue going but I may skip around a little.
   For the record Mr. Spirtofwestvirginia, or can I call you #1 since you choose to remain anonymous probably for good reason, I am not trying to discredit an honest CSX Big Sandy crew, I am questioning a wild story posted on an internet forum. I do not work for the railroad and thus donít have all the smallest operational details available to me, however, almost all my statements still hold true. The story is missing or misrepresenting many important details that would give it more credibility. The burden of proof for any story such as this rest in unquestionable and confirmable details, not general statements that can be easily disputed. I, a non-railroad employee, could have come up with something more concrete given a little time and a desire to do so. Stories just canít be changed after the fact and still be held with the same level of confidence they initially had or supported by someone who just says yes it happened. The story in question goes into serious detail in certain parts but then gets very general or leaves out important details required to make it believable. Donít try to debunk me, youíre shifting the focus away from the real subject which is this encounter report submitted as a first person factual event. Step back, take a deep breath and ask yourself if each detail seems consistent with your experience. Support the story with valid statements that canít be questioned. Show us a picture of coal spilled at (or near) CMG 42, donít just throw out a statement that youíve seen spilled coal somewhere in the area.
   Some of my concerns about the validity of the story include describing the scene and giving the milepost but leaving out the fact that a wide public road runs next to the tracks at the area reported. The story implies there is only a river, the tracks and a cliff (or a hillside) at this point. The description provided would be accurate for the Pikeville Cut Through but not milepost 42.
   Loaded coal trains running 35, 30 or even 25 mph are not silent, ever. The sound of steel wheels on steel track echoes through the hills and mountains. Crew members have unfortunately been hit and killed but I would hazard to guess because of other ambient noise, inattention, working next to idling power, or any number of other reasons. In the dead cold of a winter night away from busy streets or highways you can hear trains coming for miles even if they are not under emergency braking. Trying to imply, as the story does, that the object didnít move because it didnít ďhearĒ the approach is silly. A hovering helicopter probably couldnít hear an approaching train even if the horn was sounded, a hovering UFO would probably have means beyond our understanding to detect movement.

   Stopping distance can be affected by weather conditions as you state but a quick internet search for that day shows a high of 52 and an overnight low of 33 with no measurable rainfall. In fact, there was no rain or snow in the area for two weeks prior to the date and no frost with the above freezing temperatures that night. The data is valid for Ashland and Jackson so unless the objects influenced the weather, we can assume nominal braking conditions near Richardson that morning.
   The Wild Kingdom, Wild Turkey Roost, Animial Land, old retired C&O engineers made reference to the area between Ray and Whitehouse as such. Old habits usually die hard in the mountains but if modern crews have extended it up to RB and down to Paintsville, Iíll take your word on it. If you call it that, I canít dispute it.
   Where did the government trucks/cars/equipment come from? Is there some post-it note above the desk of every dispatcher in Jacksonville reminding them to immediately call a certain government ďblackĒ task force if a train hits a UFO? It would have been well after three a.m. before a call could be placed and they were waiting when the train arrived in Paintsville a little under 2 hours later? Are we to assume taxpayers support these quick reaction UFO investigation forces all over the US because we are being visited so often? No wonder my tax rate is so high. This just begs to be questioned.
   Or do we accept the possibility this was a super secret test flight hundreds of miles from the nearest military base. Did the Air Force fly three super secret aircraft down from Wright Patterson to look for night crawlers on the banks of the Levisa Fork? Any man-made craft would need to adhere to earth-bound physics and been as light as possible. How massive would something need to be to hit not one but two massive steel locomotives, expending enormous amounts of energy and then ďhammerĒ not one but two coal cars filled with energy absorbing material (coal)? Too many questions here to explore. Impacting a stationary object not secured by some means normally causes a reaction that pushes it out away from the moving object if it does not break up. Consider the reaction of a golf club hitting a golf ball vs a golf club hitting a raw egg. Strike a 2-ton vehicle at a grade crossing and it gets either bounced off to one side, bounced out in front of the engine and struck a second time or stuck to the front of the engine trailing parts as it breaks up. Strike any aircraft we now admit to having in service with a locomotive and it should shatter into many smaller chunks in a fireball with much of the parts scattered away from the point of impact. A small Jet Ranger weighs in at 3,200 lbs, about the same as a car, a Blackhawk weigh in at 20,000 to 22,000 lbs or about 10 tons. Up against a 16,000 ton mass moving at 30mph, even this large aircraft would be bounced away from the train if it were made of some super alloy that prevented it from being shattered into tiny chunks. The damage described would indicate the object remained either in the same position while the train passed under it totally intact or had motion of its own in a direction opposite to the direction of travel of the train. How much damage does a 2-ton vehicle do to a locomotiveís pilot, not much considering the forces in play. How much mass would the object need to cause the reported damage? Think about this. It would have needed to stay totally intact, but somehow come up with enough downward momentum after glancing off the roof of the lead unit to crash down into the trailing unit, raise up twice more and find the energy to come crashing down into each coal car all within less than the time it took two 73 foot locomotives and two 50 foot cars to pass under it at 30mph or just a few seconds.

   Your comments about a repair facility at Shelby are true but Iím pretty sure the engines would have maybe been only stored there if anything. That shop only has a mechanic on call if needed, true? He comes down from Huntington for emergencies only? CSX eliminated all service down there except for truck refueling and sanding am I right? You failed to mention Russell itself which still sports a nice service center as well. Neither Shelby nor Russell are set up for heavy structural repair/rebuild, for this area, Huntington would be the only viable option.
   For the record, calls to a contact at the Russell Service Center resulted in much laughing, a call to a contact at HLS promised they would look for the CSX #3 repair records but Iíve not talked to them in three weeks. A call to a certain salvage company which would have been contracted to either clear up spilled coal in any great amount or cut up the cars on-site or upon return to Russell resulted in nothing being worked during that time period. Yet more calls to Russell led to an accident that did occur on 1/12/02 when a Pike 29 Shifter backed through a switch on the SV&E Sub and put several cars on the ground upright. There was no damage to the locomotives. (Pike 29 is a C&O-carry-over name for a large mine/prep plant located near Shelby, a shifter is just a term for the train loading the coal cars at the mine and the SV&E is a former B&O branch line that runs out of Shelby Yard for those not familiar with the area.) If the railroad had intended to cover up any accident, why cover one up that by all initial indication was not a result of CSX operator or operating error while freely reporting on a train that back up through a switch improperly two days before?
   I also polled several engineers (5, not all Big Sandy qualified) who for the most part contend they would have backed off the throttle and been on the radio if they thought they were coming up on an unexpected meet. The most experienced person quoted he would have only been giving the opposing crew grief about failure to dim their headlight and took your stance that he would have just kept on rolling without a second thought. Another person reminded me that the Big Sandy was in the early stages of a CTC signal upgrade and would not have trusted his life to a light bulb this close to the end of double track. There was also a comment made about CSX might have felt the need to cover up an incident such as this if there had been a false indication due to previous signal work and a near miss/slight contact between two trains had taken place. A disgruntled employee could have fabricated the story in hopes of exposing the real incident and getting the FRA all up in CSXís business.
   I guess, let me address the last posted comments one by one. The most important one being an observation from a locomotive engineer who told me the train in question would not have been moved if it was suspected they had hit a manned object. Itís illegal to leave the scene of an accident, plain and simple.
    >The fact that you have engineering degrees, has absolutely nothing to >do with locomotive engineering, as I'm sure you will confirm you can >have a degree in electrical engineering through college, but you can >not become qualified in locomotive engineering unless you are in train >and engine service and have attended classes by way of Cumberland, >MD or Atlanta nowadays.<

   Again, I never once claimed to have any experience remotely associated with ďdriving/operatingĒ a train (I use driving not out of disrespect here but only to clarify the difference between the two professions). I do have electrical engineering degrees and use them to design electrical systems. This does not require me to attend the classes in Cumberland or anywhere else to become associated with train handling. This is the same thing as saying each and every NASA engineer must be a trained astronaut.
    >As for your posted speed limits and tonnage restrictions, it's like I said >Robby, time is money, and no, not everybody lives and dies by the >rulebook at CSX, that's just completely off base.
   True, but I was only trying to be respectful of your profession. Funny how on most internet forums, if a ďfanĒ or ďFRNĒ as I know many of your coworkers like to call photographers, states he saw train XYZ not blow his horn for the ABC crossing, 400 professional railroad engineers will chime in stating how this would never happen and how officials for the LMN&OP railroad are probably pulling logs in order to track down the offending crew. I make a statement implying that ďmostĒ crews obey the rules and now Iím chastised for not having a clue. You will need to respond to the ďtime is moneyĒ comments to justify speeding as I know locomotive wages are almost as much a mystery as airline ticket prices. Is it not true that not all ďjobsĒ are paid by the mile and most in fact are based on hours worked and governed under the federal hours of service laws? Is this not based on the pre-post-1985 contract rule? Many crews get paid if they move an inch or not or draw a guarantee if on an extra board. Regardless, trains are governed by a dispatcher who can keep you in a siding as long as he feels is needed. Itís point A to point B, not like you can see how far youíll get by going 35 vs 30 unless youíre trying to double turn back home and avoid waiting on a taxi. Work your time, get paid and stop working when your time expires. Unless you want to get home to catch the Thundering Herd on the big screen, why speed at all?
    >I think my points of contention were pretty well lined out in the last >post, but here we go.
   Sorry, but I never read your last post or saw this website until this week, I was responding by blind email.
    >Around milepost cmg 42 is this where they came to a stop, is this the >the point of impact either way, it is clear that there is a hillside, two >sets of tracks, and a river in this vicinity, if you want to call it a >clyffside, I'm sure you'll get that Robby, you say tomato i say tomatoe.
   I Got it, Clyffside is a ďstationĒ up on the Kanawha Sub between Catlettsburg and Ashland. Iím saying if they bother to go into detail describing the terrain, then why get it wrong by omitting the big old road parallel to the tracks and a house or two unless they were trying to paint the area as more remote than it really is. Kinda hard to miss something like that I would think?
    >know where the impact must of took place due to spillage, nowhere >close to the bridge, and to question a train crew not knowing the >difference between a car, truck, whatever dangling off an overhead, >and a clearly "unusual" type of encounter, is just stupidity. <

   Stupidity? The point I was trying to make is that there is a road overpass near CMG 42 and something could have been suspended, pushed, thrown, etc from this structure. Now that we know not everyone drawing a paycheck from CSX is perfect and lives by the rulebook, whoís to say these guys were less than wide awake and the local yahoos didnít get bored and toss a washing machine, engine block, etc off the bridge that bounced into the river? Since weíre being real now, Iíve been offered cab rides (and they were offered, Iíve never asked) only to have the conductor crashed out asleep for most of the trip. This was 2:47 am Monday morning, the crew could have been fighting sleep after having the weekend off living normal hours and Billy Bob and friends decided to line up the F-150s and crank on the KCs while killing PBRs and sucking on red box marlies until the next train rolled by and then got some jollies playing shove the old engine block over the side. Again, Iím not being stupid; Iím trying to find a down to earth explanation for damage to the top of a locomotive. Of course anything that could be hand thrown or pushed could not have done the described damage. There is only one big curve near 42 and its right before the bridge. Youíve seen the coal spilled, where exactly did the impact take place? Taking a good cop/bad cop point of view, letís get real and make sure we agree that wine door latches on old 3 & 4 bays fail and air dump doors on hoppers do come open in route from time to time because of either improper closing, structure failure or rough train handling causing nice piles inside the track gauge at random locations.
    >Oh yes your cell phone has great range, we all bow to the ever present >signal you must enjoy, but, railroaders use different services, such as >sprint, cingular, att at that time, among others, to boldly say they >should have a signal without the facts, is an attempt by you to discredit >this crew, when it is you who should be discredited.I had sprint and lost >my signal at burnaugh and got it back periodically at pburg,paintsville, >and martin, it's why I switched.

   Why take this tone with me over this. I am bound by the same cell phone offers as everyone else in the state of Kentucky. They donít issue special satellite phones to non-railroaders with magical service range everywhere in the US. I like my money just as much as the next guy and go for the best deals. I had Bellsouth at the time and often had great service in the middle of no where but couldnít make a call from downtown Pikeville to save my life. That was just a fact I threw out, like it or not, Iíve talked on my magic cell phone in Richardson around the time in question before.
    >RB Cabin which is also rusty bridge cabin is a railroad bridge, JB cabin >is an overhead, your "years" on the ground in observation are really >starting to show.
   What are we talking about here? Did I ever say RB stood for anything else? Did I make any statement at all about the CTC equipment at JB? The only time Iíve discussed RB was in response to an email question asking if there was a RR bridge 42 miles south of Russell. I responded with the location of the only major crossing of the Levisa anywhere close and that is just geographically north (RR west) of the RB signals. Since the Big Sandy milepost donít start from 0.0 at Russell, they start at Big Sandy Junction near Catlettsburg 10 miles south of Russell, a bridge 42 miles south of Russell would be near CMG 32 not 42. The bridge near RB is closer to something like CMG 27 but that was the only thing close. As you well know, the only other Levisa crossing is miles to the south (RR east) near BU and did not fit the question so it was left out of my response. I also omitted any short deck bridges over creeks that were not close enough to the Levisa to fit the story setting. I notice in the previous posting you question my knowledge of RR history. What historical part have I been wrong about up to this point? Just as a note, the C&O Historical Society feels I know what Iím talking about and has used me for reference in several books and publications. This is a matter of record, buy some of the books by TLC Publishing and look for my name. The current RR bridge at RB dates back only as far as 1914 when the C&O made curvature improvements to handle larger equipment. The old bridge, built by the Chattaroi Railroad to reach a mine at Peach Orchard in a round about path through Richardson, now serves as the single-lane road bridge near Walbridge and the abandoned tunnel later bored to make the crazy 90 degree curve line up with the river in later years by the C&O still exist to the east of the RB signals and you drive through it to access the switch at RB. The old CRR grade to Richardson is now KY 16 something, 70-80 or 90 maybe and ventured far away from the river and required a long tunnel through the ridge since they didnít own the right of way along the Levisa back pre-1900. The CRR came back alongside the Levisa a few miles north of Richardson near Ben Bowl or Ben Bow (something like that) and the old roadbed through here is now the paved road running next to the current CSX tracks and the reported point of impact. The reason I question the described lay of the land as the river, track one, track two and a cliff. Not accurate. My time on the ground has been well spent, why is it in question?

    >>As for giving authorities proper paperwork and blah blah blah, >ÖÖ.don't pretend to know what really goes on out here, if you don't >work out here you really don't.
   True, I donít work out there so it is impossible for me to know every little detail of what goes on. I did call some of my CSX (locomotive) engineer buddies and they did confirm just what you said. A crew can go right back on duty following an accident pending an investigation or drug testÖÖunder certain conditions. However, none of the guys I talked to thought this would happen in this case. Massive equipment damage and a crew with a wild story about seeing UFOs add up to either drug or liquid refreshment abuse. They also agree with me on the conductor would have walked the train and then some depending on the actual stopping distance. This crew saw something, they hit something, they did some major damage if we believe the story, the train probably took a mile or more to stop. The conductor would have needed to walk the train back to see if someone (something in this case) needed help or wait on help to arrive. Again, this is not the middle of nowhere the story implies, itís only a mile or so off the four-lane US-23 on well paved roads. The procedure you outlined is valid for an unexpected emergency application such as caused by a kicker , etc but this train hit what could have been a helicopter in use by the DEA looking for some of Kentuckyís famous cash crop, the state police searching for criminals or (unlikely) a hover craft being tested by the government? To most of the real world, a hovering object with spotlights would be considered to be under human control. Leaving the scene of such is against the laws of the United States, not a CSX rule. Anyone involved in and leaving the scene of any accident can be brought up on criminal charges. Saying the dispatcher told them to move without attempting to render assistance would likely not stand up in court. I still say a freaked out conductor would have taken well over an hour to gain his composure and creep back to the impact site, and used even more time inspecting the damaged equipment and searching the area for a downed craft. I just donít think you can argue with this one.

    >Get your ge manuals out and your schematics for locomotives because >heres another lesson free of charge, if the units die in transit an alarm >bell sounds, that's it no big mystery, when the guy says power was >restored after stopping, it means he was able to get both units back >online. power equals the locomotives in consist.

   Granted, but as reported, this was not your normal loss of power due to any number of common real life (ECU failure, oil pressure loss, over temp, etc) reasons. This was implied by the story to be due to an encounter with the objects which caused the classic stopped watch and total loss of electrical power scenario. In theory, this is due to encountering an ultra high level electromagnetic or magnetic field used to propel the ďUFOĒ. This, in fact, is a well proven effect of subjecting unshielded electronic equipment to an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) or high flux magnetic fields which can induce high currents within a ďchipĒ and disrupt its operation or melt the tiny interconnections that are only microns wide in some cases. Stand under a high tension power line with a florescent lamp in your hand and watch it glow or place a magnet on top of your TV set to see this ďfluxĒ in action. The government/law enforcement agencies have been doing research into using this as a non-lethal method of stopping speeding cars, etc. (Watch the Discovery Channel) My assumption is that if the crew experienced such a high level of flux that would kill a watch, the unshielded locomotive electronics would have likewise been ďkilledĒ and probably not recovered. No subsystem in the locomotive is built to mil-specs for EMP shielding so I feel this is a valid assumption. Kill the watch, kill the computer controls that manage the diesel engines, no alarms, no controls other than the mechanical failsafe braking system. The odd part, of course, is that the engines started working again while the watch did not. Once subjected to such fields, most ďchipsĒ or circuits used in such things as the computers, sensors, radios, etc are fried due to what is known as EOS or electrostatic over stress. They donít just return to normal after the field is removed, they are zapped. A mechanical watch would probably be magnetized in this case and fail to ever work again unless degaussed.

    >It gives me absolutely no joy to tell you I have been involved in a few >road crossing incidents,DRUG TESTED EACH TIME, Never pulled from >service, never found to be at fault and only served critical incident >time on one occasion, after I made a return trip on my rest. Yes if you >tell them you are shook up and can't continue your trip, they'll taxi you >home, but if you say, i'm good to go, you lace em up and keep right on >at it.

   My sincere condolences for any lasting affects these grade accidents have caused you. No one should be subjected to the mental trauma inflicted by idiot drivers or selfish suicides. However, I again believe there is a difference in striking a trespasser or vehicle and calling in a story about hitting a hovering UFO that damaged your ride and then made off without a trace.

    >Your over estimation of the importance of low level officials, >trainmasters, roadforemen and the like lead me to think you have >befriended officials and not engineers and conductors. Getting >information from them is a dangerous proposition.
   True, very true. I know many officials at almost every level, most due to family ties and not my ďhobbyĒ. I guess I can only respond with the question of who allows you to go on duty. Is it common to come up with wild stories and have any of these guys laugh it off and put you back in the lineup? Letís say you run through a stop indication and then blame it on a unicorn standing trackside. Would anyone out there really tell you to go back to work without thinking youíre on something and probably would still be under its influence 8 hours later? Maybe, maybe not.
    >In conclusion, it is clear to me now that the railfans, that I used to >think were just harmless enthusiasts are in fact, hazardous to the day >to day operations of a class 1 railroad, picture taking has progressed >into the use of restricted radio frequencies, and so on. Taking this into >account it will be my new ambition to report all encounters with >unauthorized personell on or near the tracks or csx property as >potential terrorist activity and clear the rail for honest men trying to >work, per the rules.

   Whoa, now Iím a terrorist because I take pictures? Iím a hazard to the operation of the railroad? How did our discussion progress you into making this decision? Sorry, but taking photographs from public property is a right protected by the constitution of the United States. I have family members who have served this country and paid with their lives so I can enjoy this freedom. Granted, if Iím transmitting on an AAR radio frequency, call the FCC. If Iím standing in the middle of a yard or on the tracks, I should be reported as a trespasser. Unlike large urban areas, most of the land next to the tracks in the Appalachians is either public or private and not under railroad control. However, calling in anything like this as a possible terrorist act just because you spot someone with a camera pointed in your direction will have the same effect as the little boy yelling wolf too many times. No one will be paying attention when the next Osama Bin Buttwipe is spotted placing charges on a structure with real intent. Think railroads are being singled out by photographers or ďfansĒ. Try spending a day in my shoes working for an automotive company. Most of our plants are open for public tours making you feel a little like the panda exhibit at a zoo, automotive journalist are constantly publishing articles about what XYZ engineers are doing, why they did what they did and why we must be stupid for bringing a feature to market. Next, hit the road for a real life driving evaluation in a new model under layers of masking tape and watch the idiots try to get the money shot by driving as stupid as possible. I have hats and shirts from almost all the big car companies and even mount different emblems on the vehicles just to have fun. Iíve had my picture taken and published in several mags and websites with so much incorrect information itís unbelievable. Are any of these guys terrorist, no. Yes, some railfans are a little on the odd side and usually one bad apple can spoil the hobby for the rest of the responsible guys enjoying a day in the great outdoors. Do you really think most of these guys donít have the emergency number for every railroad in the state on speed dial and would call in to report someone tampering with infrastructure as soon as they spotted it happening? Iím not the enemy because I question a wild story. Reply
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   Robby, I think you're right. You and I got off on the wrong foot in large part because I am usually pretty quick to defend guys I work with. I will make a public apology for the stupidity remark as it was off base and was meant to be a description of an action and not a personal attack. That being said I still disagree with you on many counts, however, if you know old Jesse Smith and the folks at the C&O Historical, and they ask you for information, well that speaks volumes. Now could you imagine that if every time I saw spilled coal or grain, I snapped a picture. I thought it must have been a derail or along these lines. A few weeks ago was the first time I've ever heard this other stuff about flying saucers, and no I don't think ufo's are real. What I do know is my stretch of road, places you see on occasion or for sport I travel to the tune of about 400 plus times per year. I don't know where you found the 5 guys at again, but I'm telling you this stuff you keep coming up with as far as radio rules, is not based in fact, I explained to you why and have no desire to repeat myself again. Louisa is cmg 22.7 - 23.9 the area is not heavily populated and 18 rail miles away from Louisa. Heres a rundown of signals pre change out 27.3 rb cabin-29.8torchlight-32.5ch cabin-36 beech farm-37.4kx cabin-38.8 2only-40 benbowe-41.8 rn cabin-43.5jb cabin-44.8 patrick-46 west end ray. Again it is entirely possible for a train to go quiet. Let me explain using buff and draft forces. If the train is bunched up and shoving you it is not going to make as much noise as if you have it stretched and are pulling on them, where a lot of the squeak and squal comes from, subsequently, silent to me is not going to be silent to you, pre earplugs in the crew pack days have took their toll. I wish you the best of luck in this endeavor as I can assure you if you call anyone not just CSX with questions about a ufo incident, well you're gonna get a lot of laughter. I really wish I could argue with you further, but no matter how much I describe in detail where you have been in error , you claim with your next post that you have not been in error. It makes for a frustrating conversation. I do think you are trying though and I realize by not working out here you and I have a way different perspective, for example, it's kind of like you put a stapler in your desk at work 4 years ago, it mysteriously disappears, then I have sometime in the past taken a picture of your desk and the surrounding area, so being an expert on your desk by way of familiarity, i start to speculate on the whereabouts of the stapler. You know it was in there but I want a picture for proof. Then I toss in some untruths and half truths just to get things rolling. Here's something for you Robby, spiritofwestvirginia@yahoo.com feel free to write me I'm not anonymous to those who know me. Reply
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   "Check into the q634, or 5 that this exact scenario happened to a month or two ago on the great northern sub, somewhere near chilicothe ohio, a defect detector had nabbed the train for a second time,the dispatcher instructed this crew to clear up the main.."

   It's the Northern Subdivision and the train was Q635.
   This incident and the decision to pull the train after fouling two detectors, caused the DS and the crew to have time on the streets.
   The locomotive damage looks suspiciously like what you would see when a engine strikes a lowered flood loader at a coal mine.
   The Lurker Reply
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   You didn't know rail-fans listen to scanners to follow operations?. I've using my scanner for years. The Northern sub is the "HD" dispatcher in Huntington, no longer Jacksonville DTC.